18 May 2006

Da Vinci Code in Bangkok

Mat and I just went to see the Da Vinci Code at the Scala in Siam Square. Today is the first day of its screening here in Thailand. There has been a series of debate whether its screening here wouldn't affect Christian people. What I heard from the news was that some of the Christians actually launched a petition for the censorship of some parts of the film, especially the last ten minutes when it reveals what the Holy Grail actually is. Columbia Pictures did appeal and won so we had a chance to see the 'whole' film.

My first reaction after watching it was that the film and the novel didn't quite correspond in many points and that several sensitive issues are still left untouched or slightly implied, i.e. the relationship between Neveu and Sauniere and how the Priory of Sion 'keepers' actually keep the 'rose line' or the 'blood line' alive. We saw the scene whereby Sauniere had sex with a woman in some sort of ritual but they never explained why this old man was still at it! I guess this will probably incense more people so the filmmakers have decided to downplay these. Apart from this, I also couldn't quite understand some parts of the film. Two questions, for example. When they were at the Temple Church, why did Teabing's assistant need to kill both Langdon and Neveu, even though Teabing still needed Neveu to tell him the code to open the cryptex? Also why did Captain Fache arrest only Teabing, and not Langdon and Neveu even though they're believed to be suspects?

I've read the novel and I must confess that reading it is more enjoyable than watching it. But watching it helps my reading as some of the details of the novel are based on 'real' settings. My personal pleasure is to learn that Dan Brown uses 'apple' as a clue to the cryptex. 'Apple' can mean many things (not just i-pod, mind you!) and what it reminds me straight away is the apple of knowledge. Both Langdon and Neveu have tasted it but refused to let others know it, apart of me and the rest of the people who have seen the film of course (in addition to just several millions who have read it). Now we need to keep quiet and don't tell anyone else ok? Shhhhhhhh...

14 May 2006


Those of you who live in Thailand would have probably heard by now the news about an alien from the sky in the shape of an almost transparent worm-like cone. The moment the media knew about it, they rushed to the scene and the rest is history. The owner appeared on TV and tried to safeguard her new treasure, believing that it was something given by gods to cure her illness. Loads of people rushed to her place, some with incense sticks and candles, asking for "divine numbers" for the next lottery draw.

However, soon after, it turned out that the alien was just a cool-aid pad left in the water. The chemicals in the pad will naturally form an ice-like layer around the pad. Now loads of people, especially those in the city, stormed into their nearest 7-elevens to get these pads (which are now being sold like hot cake) and enjoy their new home-made aliens.

I've found this event rather amusing and thought-provoking. It shows how differently people in the country and the city approach the same object of mystery. The former group, still holding a deep faith in pre-Buddhist paganism, reluctantly submits this object for scientific inspection, whereas the latter group, with a rather alarmingly high level of irreverence, does not seem to take this event seriously or question why almost every popular newspaper choose to give space to this type of news. They rather think that this is an opportunity for a new toy and not a situation showcasing gullibility and sheer nonsense. Maybe it's just that the culture of serious criticism has yet to be formulated, especially among those middle-class kids heading towards their nearest convenience stores to get these pads.

Saying that, I think I'll go to buy one of these pads tomorrow and make my own little alien. I think my colleagues would love to see it! :)

08 May 2006

Dechito's World

Welcome to Dechito's World. It is destined to be a website where I'll collect trivia, interesting thoughts and events (sometimes weird, sometimes so banal it's extraordinary) occurring here in the amazing country of Thailand. I also plan to publish snippets that I sometimes receive from friends and feel too guilty to press delete.

Thanks Mat for providing his brand-new notebook for me to experiment with my latest whim! Who knows whether this first entry will also be the last?